Johnson Master Of Martinsville

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Jimmie Johnson wrestled the lead away from Denny Hamlin with 16 laps to go and went on to score the victory in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 for his fifth win in the last six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway.

The win came on the 25th anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports' first career win which Geoff Bodine scored at Martinsville in 1984.

Hamlin dominated the race and was trying to notch his second straight win in the event at his home track. He had lost the lead to Johnson on a late pit stop but put on a daring move on a restart with 45 laps to go.

But Johnson was able to run Hamlin down and the two made contact racing through turns three and four with on lap 484. They both slid up the track but Johnson was able to slide by into the lead and Hamlin was forced to settle into second place where he wound up when the checkered flag flew.

“I don’t know how Denny got inside of me on that one restart,” Johnson said. “I had a little bit better car on the longer run. I set him up and set up him and he tried to put the squeeze on me. He ran me down there on the curb and we slid up. He did a heck of a job of saving it. I thought I was going to lose it, too.“That was just a fun day.”

It was his sixth victory at the 0.526-mile oval, second only to Gordon’s seven among active drivers.

Hamlin wound up second for the second straight week.

“That’s short-track racing,” Hamlin said. “That’s all the fans could hope for right there. He got the best of it today. I would have done the same thing if I’d been in that position, and believe me I will if it comes back around.”

Johnson defended his move.

"If he wants to think that I tried moving him out of the way, he can believe that, but he should watch the video and see that I was inside of him,” Johnson said. “I did everything I could to miss him—climbed up on the curb— and he was still coming down."

The victory was the 18th career win at Martinsville for Hendrick Motorsports.

Tony Stewart finished third with pole sitter Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five.

Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., A.J. Allmendinger and Jamie McMurray completed the top-10 finishers.

“We started so far in the back and typically I run well here, but I always qualify well and it makes it so much easier when you’re up front," said McMurray who was the top finishing Ford driver. "Our car had a tremendous amount of speed in it, but I just could not pass. I could catch guys pretty easy and I just couldn’t pass them, so we struggled just to get track position, but we had really good pit stops and that helped us out a lot.”

Gordon stayed on top of the series point standings by 89 over Bowyer but his winless streak reached 46 races.

“I’m not really concerned with this streak of how many wins we haven’t had in a row,” Gordon said. “I am more concerned with what we have to do this year to win races and win this championship. You certainly don’t want to give that No. 48 (Johnson) momentum.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Texas Motor Speedway for next Sunday's Samsung 500.

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